Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Expose Tax Cheats' Web of Deceit

Possibly taking cues from California, the New York state tax department is thinking about publishing a list of the top 200 business and individual taxpayers who owe the state delinquent taxes. According to NY Daily News, the tax department is hoping to publish this “Most Wanted List” online to shame them into paying off their debts to the government.

"It's a good idea as a tax enforcement device and we are exploring that," tax department spokeswoman Susan Burns said.

As of April, there were about 1 million outstanding tax warrants totaling $14.4 billion, officials said.

Many are deemed "uncollectible," but tax officials estimate $4.2 billion in judgments are active.

The idea for the list comes from legislation being pushed by Assemblyman William Colton (D-Brooklyn) and Senate Deputy Majority Leader Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx).

Tax officials say they oppose the law, preferring to enact the measure administratively.

Given the fiscal crunch, the state tax department has already increased its efforts to go after tax scofflaws.

The department can't commit to creating a list until it explores the "resources we need," particularly in a time of fiscal crisis, Burns said.

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